Saturday, May 31, 2014

Private company to begin providing security screening at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (KBZN) on Sunday

Nearly two years after filing with the Transportation Security Administration, the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport will have security provided by a private firm through the federal agency's Screening Partnership Program.

The TSA announced Friday that it picked the joint venture of Comprehensive Security Services Inc. and FirstLine Transportation Security Inc. to provide screening service at the Bozeman airport, Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell and Yellowstone Airport in West Yellowstone. The private firm's contract begins Sunday and runs for five years. The TSA will still oversee private workers.

The contract hands over responsibility for security screening services for both passenger checkpoint and checked baggage operations. The total contract for all four airports is $28.6 million, according to a news release from the TSA. The federal government is still responsible for paying for airport security.

Five other Montana airports use private companies for security screening: Sidney-Richland Municipal Airport, Dawson Community Airport, L.M. Clayton Airport, Wokal Field/Glasgow International Airport and Havre City-County Airport.

Airport Director Brian Sprenger told the Chronicle when the airport first applied for a private security company that it requested Covenant and Firstline because of how well known and experienced the companies are in the industry. He said the firms offer a balance of experience and flexibility that could work well in Bozeman.

“They have more ability to have work pools that allow them to adapt quicker,” Sprenger said in July 2012. “(That) may mean that they might have more people to employ during peaks. And when we have less traffic maybe they'll employ less people.”

The Screening Partnership Program began in 2002 after it was created in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. Nine other airports around the country also participate in the program, including San Francisco International Airport, Kansas City International Airport, Greater Rochester International Airport, Jackson Hole Airport, Tupelo Regional Airport, Sioux Falls Regional Airport, Key West International Airport, Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport and Roswell International Air Center. 

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